Debate continues on long-term impact of E15

A renewable fuel official said E15, a higher ethanol-gasoline blend, is completely safe to use in vehicles and refuted comments made by the AAA that urged the Obama administration to halt the sale of the newly approved fuel.

Renewable Fuel Association Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said in a CNBC interview on Monday that the higher ethanol blend was safe to use in cars made after 2001, and he added there is no valid reason to stop selling the fuel, according to The Hill.

“There is no evidence to suggest there are any problems with E15,” he said in the interview. “E15 has been the most tested fuel in the history of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

E15, which contains up to 15 percent of ethanol, was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency over the summer for cars produced after 2001. The fuel is only being sold at 10 gas stations across the U.S, according to Choose Ethanol.

Automakers and oil industry trade groups raised questions in May after a study conducted by Coordinating Research Council found two out of eight engines were damaged by using E15. One of the eight engines also failed emission tests.

The groups say that study and others prove the long-term impact of using the ethanol-gasoline blend.

AAA expressed its own concerns about E15 on Friday.

An AAA survey found 95 percent of Americans had not heard of E15 gasoline, and the group said the lack of knowledge of the fuel could cause consumers to unknowingly void their automakers’ warranties.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicles,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet.

AAA reported about 12 million out of more than 240 million light-duty vehicles are approved to use E15. Five manufacturers – BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen – have said their warranties will not cover E15-related claims, according to AAA.

According to The Detroit News, the EPA is working to address some of those concerns by requiring new orange and black labels for E15 pumps.

“The label will help ensure consumers are aware about which vehicles are approved for its use,” the EPA said in a statement, according to The Detroit News.